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Gluten-Free Diet: My Take

By Carolyn Brown, MS, RD

crackers

Miley Cyrus has been all over the news recently and it’s actually not because of her love life or scandalous pictures. Miley (who is 19) has lost a noticeable amount of weight recently, so as usual, the tabloids and Internet had a field day with celeb eating disorder rumors. In true 2012 fashion, Miley turned to Twitter to address her smack-talkers:

Miley Tweet

Gluten-free is probably a term you recognize from the grocery store but now that the pop star has alluded to it as the secret to her weight loss, the “diet” has gone viral.

So should you cut the gluten?  Here’s what you need to know:

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found including wheat, barley, and rye.

What is gluten sensitivity?

You probably have heard of celiac disease, the severe extent of a gluten intolerance. But researchers have recently found that up to 6% of the world population may suffer from a less obvious gluten sensitivity in which eating it causes an inflammatory response in the body. Symptoms aren’t only digestive issues – other common symptoms are headaches, balance problems, eczema and fatigue.

What’s it got to do with weight loss?

Going gluten-free can eliminate a ton of processed foods such as cookies, bagels, cereal, and is also in many unexpected foods including some salad dressings, yogurt, and even cold cuts. If you chop all of these processed foods from your diet and switch over to more whole foods, of course you will lose weight. But it’s not that easy. A gluten-free stamp does not mean a food is healthier or lower in calories. Sadly, a gluten-free donut is still a donut.

So is gluten actually crap(ppp) as Miley said, or is this another fad diet?

I think we eat way too much gluten, mostly in the form of wheat. There are so many other types of grains out there. Think of it like only ever eating carrots. You’re not getting any of the benefits from broccoli or kale and in that case, overdoing it would literally turn you orange.

I don’t think gluten is necessarily crap, but from my experience people lose weight when they stop eating it, and more importantly they also feel great. So I am totally all about giving gluten free a shot.

Have you tried ditching gluten? Did you see any benefits? Would you try it for weight loss? Tell me by leaving a comment.

Photo: iStockphoto

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